Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 April 2022
London radicalism in all its expressions was galvanised by the Manchester atrocity in August 1819. While the moderate radicals raised relief funds and sought justice for the victims, the Watsonites called public meetings and arranged Hunt’s spectacular triumphal entry into London in September. Government brought prosecutions and Sidmouth’s repressive Six Acts in its wake. The moderates and Huntites quarrelled with the ultras, and the Watsonites’ failure to win mass support at a washed-out meeting in Finsbury Market on 1 November deepened Watson’s, Thistlewood’s, and Preston’s conviction that the only hope of change lay in violence.